There’s a growing body of research showing that regular gratitude practices can have amazing benefits for your physical and mental health.
Something like a short, simple guided Gratitude Meditation can give you a great start to your day, a lovely finish to your day, or help you re-set your day if it feels like it’s not going too well.
Recently I started a few big new projects, and I am so grateful for all the support, and encouragement from my local Yoga tribe and other friends that I wanted to offer them something, a practice, that has made a huge difference in my own life.
I’ve been enjoying the outstanding benefits of gratitude practices in one form or another for years. So I recorded this guided Gratitude Meditation for them (click on the title to download), and also for anyone who would like to enjoy the physical and psychological benefits a gratitude practice can bring.
There are many other ways to enjoy gratitude practices, of course. One of my dearest friends and I are sharing morning gratitude practices where we quickly journal around 5 things we’re grateful for, first thing.
I take a photo on my phone and send it to her every morning and we keep each other inspired. It’s nice, because we live in different states now, but every morning, we’re practice buddies.
We have no strict rules. Some days it’s 5 things, other days it’s less, and if I wake up grumpy I write a few more because I know how much it helps. I’ve been doing it now for a couple of years, and it’s made a huge difference to my life.
My brain has become better at re-phrasing and re-framing things so that even when I feel like I’ve been having a bad week, I can see it through the lens of gratitude and I discover quickly that actually, I’m ok. Do I still sometimes feel sad? Annoyed? Tired? Yes, all those things, and yet I can feel them and it’s not the end of the world. Partly, this comes from a long Yoga and meditation practice, but I actually think it’s the gratitude practices that have helped me the most.
My friend’s morning gratitudes from the other day express this beautifully. Her family pet was sick and possibly dying, her daughter had been throwing up all night and she’s a single working mum so she not only had to deal with all this but try to make arrangements for her daughter for the day too. The photo she sent me still showed some written morning gratitudes – one being that she was really grateful her daughter had thrown up in the toilet and not in the bed!
In my easy, post-children life I can only aspire to her fortitude and her mastery of the practice of gratitude, but I do honestly believe that gratitude practices have truly enhanced my well-being and my enjoyment of life more than any other kind of practice.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that sadness, grief, or any emotion is something to brush aside and move on. It’s just that I feel it’s possible, with practice, to feel something like sadness and gratitude at the same time, and that one of the accumulative effects of gratitude, over time, is increased health & happiness.
That’s why I include gratitude practices in the YogaNurture Program as part of our month spent exploring the Heart Chakra.
You could use this free Guided Gratitude Meditation to:
- Set a beautiful tone for your day by using it as your morning meditation practice
- Re-set your day if you’re having a tricky day (it’s only around 10 minutes long so you could even listen to it through your head phones at work for a short break).
- Work with your feelings toward a challenging co-worker or family member (it includes a section on compassion to help with this)
- Meditate just before going to sleep, to put your day lovingly behind you and put life in perspective.
Or just use it to take a 10 minute break any time that will leave you feeling light, happy and loving – listen to it while you’re watching the kids at swim school or after school sports…on your own on the bus (you’ll make everyone around you feel better!)…in the carpark before heading in to work… let me know how and where you used it!
Here are a few more easy and joyful ways to practice gratitude …
- Write 3 things you’re grateful for every morning on waking, or every night before bed.
- Every day, take a quick photo on your phone of something you feel grateful for or something related to feelings of gratitude. If you’d like some amazing inspiration for this, check out 365grateful.com
- A lovely one to do with children at bed time is to count out on the fingers of one hand, 5 things that were nice about your day.
- Send a letter of thanks to a different person each week who has positively affected you or your life in some way
- Before you eat a meal, take a few breaths to reflect on everything that has brought this meal to you – for example, the people who grew the ingredients, the truck driver who drove the ingredients, the person who looked after the ingredients at the store before you bought them and took them home…and then say a mental Thank You that you have enough to eat.
- Say a Thank You, mentally, every time you see or experience something that brings you a bit of happiness – anything from hearing someone laugh, to seeing a seedling manage to rise out of a crack in the pavement.
Try something that appeals, do it consistently for a while, and see how it makes you feel.
I hope you enjoy the Guided Gratitude Meditation. If you do, hop over to the Facebook page and let me know!
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Simple practices for a more easeful body & mind, including 2 short videos, 3 guided meditations, & a chart for standing with a posture of ease & grace.
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